Park in front of museum
Thai take-out restaurant
After a sorely-needed 13 hour sleep, and braced by an enormous Dutch breakfast of meat, cheese, yoghurt and fruit, we headed off to see the famous Rijksmuseum. Just in front of the tram stop we found a drugstore so Paul went in to to pick up some Glucosamin (which we had forgotten to bring) for 20E (!). Then we boarded the number 2 tram to the museum. Trams in Amsterdam are long, narrow, articulated beasts with a built-in ticket booth at the back. The clerk in the booth helpfully guided us through the maze of options to a one-hour pass worth 2.60E (the all-day pass was 7.5E and there seemed to be no "return" pass) and told us which stop to get off. The stops are announced over the PA and posted on an electronic readout but our Dutch is a little weak. Anyway, our stop was appropriately called "Rijksmuseum" so we were pretty confident. The passes are an electronic ticket which you wave in front of a sensor when boarding and disembarking. Longer duration passes work the same way and presumably set off alarms when they expire.
Reggie had bought the museum tickets on-line for 17.50E each including an audio guide, and this allowed us to skip the line-ups and go straight in. No photos inside, of course, to protect the 500-year old paintings from excessive exposure to light .
Bucking swarms of other visitors from all over the world, we traipsed through room after room of Old Masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer and even some more recent works by artists such as Degas. All those famous pictures you keep seeing in books and ads? They're here. Pretty overwhelming.
Three and a half hours later, we emerged for a coffee at a cafe by the artificial lake in front of the museum and a rest for aching legs. Even the prospect of a tour through the Heineken brewery/experience failed to rouse Paul so we opted to return home.
Carefully evading streams of bicycles, scooters and cars, we crossed to mid-street to the tram stop. That was when we realized there was a slight problem: we had failed to note the name of the cross-street at the tram stop where we got on. When a number 2 came by, we accosted the ticket seller who turned out to be the same helpful fellow from earlier. When we explained our problem he asked if we remembered anything significant about the intersection. Paul said there was a drugstore on the corner. No help. Then he remembered that there was a flower store too. Also not rare, as the Dutch take their flowers very seriously and there are a lot of flower stores. Finally the ticket-seller concluded that it was probably on the corner of Amsterveensegen Street and sold us the appropriate tickets. The ride seemed about the right length and when we disembarked we were relieved to find that it was indeed the right place. (Note to self: in future, pay attention to where you get on public transit in foreign cities if you hope to ever see your B&B again.)
Fatigued by our adventures, before we fell asleep again, we crossed Lomanstraat to a small Thai take-out restaurant on the corner where, with the help of the staff and customers, Reggie deciphered the Dutch menu of Thai food and we went home to enjoy chicken in spicy sauce with rice, vegetable rolls and a nice Thai Lager.
Van Gogh tomorrow!